Two battered Florida banks may link up. On May 1, Barnett Banks announced it might try to buy Miami-based Southeast Banking.

Barnett, though, could face stiff competition from another suitor, superregional NCNB. And Barnett isn't in the best of shape. Loan-loss provisions were up 64% last year, and profits plunged to $101 million from $256 million in 1990. Southeast, which lost $199 million last year, would be quite a gulp even in good times.

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